this might be an important glitch in org-mode's documentation:

%%(diary-anniversary 14 5 1956) Arthur Dent is %d years old

probably should read

%%(diary-anniversary 05 14 1956) Arthur Dent is %d years old

if Douglas Adams had May in mind for Mr Dent.

So according to the Emacs documentation the format is "month day year"
which feels distinctly alien to me (I am used to "day month year"). Is
there another way to have the same functionality with a different date

The format of dates in Emacs' Diary is controlled by diary-date-forms
which you can customise if you wish.  There are pre-defined forms for
european, american and iso-date. Type C-h v diary-date-forms
for full help.

You can just put (european-calendar) in your .emacs to get dates in the "proper" format (customize will do the same thing).


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